Alcohol Dependency Treatment
By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited: December 08, 2020 | 4 Sources
Options For Treatment For Alcohol Dependency
Alcohol Dependency Treatment
Despite popular belief there are countless options for those seeking treatment for alcohol dependency
The 12-step program is the leading alcohol dependency treatment method in the U.S, if not the world.
This is not so. There are many other treatments for alcohol dependency that can be undertaken either alongside the 12 steps or independent of it.
If you are thinking of treatment then it is essential that you are aware of all of your options. I am not anti-AA, I am merely of the opinion that there are other ways of treating alcoholism that are just as, if not more effective than Alcoholics Anonymous.
This page will guide you through the process of looking for alcohol dependency treatment and point you in the direction of the different options open to you.
First Steps of
Alcohol Dependency Treatment
Before even contemplating types of and options for alcohol dependency treatment, you need to take stock of your drinking.
The best way to do this is to take an alcoholism test.
Although not foolproof these tests can give you a pretty accurate picture of your drinking status, in other words, tell you if you have something to worry about.
If an alcoholism test confirms your fears, a visit to your physicians is a must. He or she will conduct a complete physical check up as prolonged alcohol abuse can cause a myriad of health problems. On top of this your physician will also ask you questions in order to learn about your drinking habits.
From the physical exam and the information you provide, your doctor should be able to give you a diagnosis and make suggestions as to the next step.
Before reading on, it is essential you understand the different stages of alcoholism. Read alcoholism stages and then return to this page by clicking the back button on your browser.
Your Options - Early-Stage/Middle-Stage Alcoholism
For those in the initial stages of alcoholism (for a more detailed examination of the first symptoms of alcoholism read First Signs of Alcoholism) or the mid-stages of alcoholism your options are many.
- You could undergo outpatient alcohol detox (with medical supervision) in order to wean yourself
from alcohol. Once free from alcohol you could attend a support group (Alcoholics Anonymous or an alternative). A support group helps you to remain free from alcohol and provides a place for you to meet non-drinking friends who can empathize and assist you in your new, sober life.
- Perhaps the abstinent life is not for you and you want to try and return to 'normal' drinking. Then Moderation Management or HAMS are possibilities. These are groups that provide resources and assistance to those who wish to cut down on their drinking. If you are not able to reduce your alcohol consumption (as many can't) then you can try one of the abstinence models above.
- There is medication available that is said by some to 'cure' alcoholism. Baclofen and Naltrexone can both be used to help you cut down on your drinking. Although neither drug is licensed for this purpose, both seem to have the ability to help some alcoholics, but by no means all. Once again, if they do not work for you, then it is possible to take one of the other routes outlined on this page. For more information on these two drugs read The Sinclair method and Baclofen: New Alcoholism Treatment.
- Holistic Alcohol Treatment is also a possibility. There are countless therapies/practices out there that can be utilized in the fight against alcohol dependency; Cogintive behavioral therapy, aversion therapy, homeopathy, herbal treatments, acupuncture, meditation and so the list goes on. All of these can help, although I would recommend using them in conjunction with other methods in order to get the maximum benefit from them.
- Some choose treatment centers to help them get off alcohol. Alcohol rehabs are not a quick-fix option, however they do offer a more focused treatment plan (usually lasting 4-6 weeks). This is a great foundation to an alcohol free life, but it does not guarantee sobriety for the long term. The costs are also high, and for those who don't have insurance this is not an option. Read residential alcohol treatment centers for more on this option.
The main thing to keep in mind is that it is your choice. Do not let people force you to take an alcohol dependency treatment option that you are reticent to.
If you do, the chances are that it will not be successful. Keep your options open, if one treatment does not work, move on to another.
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Your Options - End-Stage or Advanced Alcoholism
When it comes to the latter stage of alcoholism, your options are curtailed. End stage alcoholism is characterized by severe physical and mental decline.
You have been drinking so long that the habit has become so much a part of who you are that the chances of alcohol dependency treatment being successful have seriously diminished.
Your doctor/physician will suggest a course of action to you and I would strongly suggest that you take it. Usually this will involve a stay in a general or psychiatric hospital, the reason being that you will need to be closely monitored while you undergo alcoholism detox and then the long road to recovery.
If, and there most likely will be, you have serious health issues these will also need to be tended to. For more on this, read End Stage Alcoholism.
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Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl
Licensed Medical Health Professional
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More